COSATU statement on the latest GDP growth figures

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes the latest Gross Domestic Productivity (GDP) figures showing the economy grew by 0.4% in the last quarter and avoided a much-anticipated return to a recession.  Given the dire conditions millions of workers and the economy have been facing, avoiding a return to a recession is welcome news.  This is more so with the rampant levels of load-shedding, cable thefts, and a myriad of other crises restricting and suffocating the economy.

However, we cannot celebrate a 0.4% GDP growth as this is not enough to make a dent in the seemingly intractable and deep socioeconomic problems facing the country, especially the dangerously high unemployment rate of 42.4%.  The government and the leadership of the business sector need to redouble all possible efforts to ensure that the economy does not meekly float aimlessly but ensure that it begins to grow to meet the long-sought-after 4% GDP growth rate needed if we are to slash the unemployment, poverty, and inequality.

This means Eskom needs to be given all the help it needs to end load-shedding. Transnet and PRASA need to be supported in their efforts to secure and rebuild our railway network and modernise our ports.  Local government needs drastic interventions to restore basic services.  Businesses too must play their part and ramp up investments in infrastructure and jobs-rich sectors of the economy.

The government needs to increase the SRD Grant to the food poverty line and reduce the taxes on record-high petrol prices to ease the burden of rising inflation. The Presidential Employment Programme needs to be ramped up to accommodate at least two (2) million active participants and help young people enter the labour market.

It is clear for all to see that we cannot continue with the business-as-usual mentality.  We need government and businesses to treat this as the national disaster it is. We reiterate our calls for an activist government and a democratic developmental state that is capable of intervening effectively to transform economic relations. 

Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

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